I spent the last couple of days presenting on the EMC “Journey to the Private Cloud” for a partner of ours at their lunch N learn (it was at Maggianos…and I’m low carbing..bastards 🙂 !! ). As I was tweaking the deck between events (it’s a bad habit…I can’t seem to not mess with a deck multiple times) I started to think about what is driving all of these conversations and push towards “Cloud”. Now, I understand fully that some of this “push” comes from us vendors, but hear me out on this, I think there are other forces at work as well.
If you recall a couple of blog posts ago I created a term called “Non-Recoverable Engineering Time”. For those that didn’t get a chance to read it, let me summarize. NRE(T) is “all that crap that we deal with that has ZERO impact on adding value to the business”. Now, I usually relate this to a “to do” list that we all keep – either in our head, or on paper/OneNote etc. The things that get relegated to the bottom of the list could be described as NRET events and for those they either stay at the bottom of the list or we deal with them some other way.
So what drives the top part of our “to do list”? Most of the time it’s projects we’ve had on a roadmap for some amount of time and it has a direct impact on the business. I’m fairly confident that 2 years ago, “Cloud” discussions had more to do with vendors trying to push their new “stuff” then it had to do with driving immediate business impact within your environment. And then one day….your CEO/CIO/CFO rolled into the IT department (after getting directions cause they’ve never been down to “NerdVille”) and said “Hey, I just got this new iPad and want to have access to everything we have on the network”.
AND THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE !!!!
Your “to do” list just went out the window and more and more stuff gets pushed down to the NRET area. Here are a couple of examples of how this might manifest itself.
If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a 1000 times. I walk into a meeting with a Hospital and some big-wig doctor just ordered 10 iPads for his office and would like to have access to all sorts of medical information right away. Now, he doesn’t realize that the platforms that they currently have won’t support it, but he controls a lot of the money and well…there goes your well defined “to do” list. I’ve also heard the story of a “City of” that wants to hand out iPads to their council members so that they can “take notes” during meetings and then Educational institutions that want/need to offer “Lab Applications” to students outside the campus.
So, off the IT department goes to figure out how to best support the iPad. Once the CxO’s figure out that the iPad is cool, now they decide they want to rock a Mac laptop as well. Once again, this gets dumped on IT’s doorstep to have to deal with. 3 years ago at my last job, our IT department wanted ZERO to do with anything Mac related. You get a Dell Laptop and some sort of Windows Mobile device, everything else was your responsibility. Today? Things have changed a TON.
So, the big push for cloud, in my opinion, can be traced/blamed on the iPad. As much as Greg Knieriemen thinks it’s a “toy” – it has had a profound impact on IT. It’s escalated the need/desire for companies to roll out projects like Virtual Desktops quicker, it’s started IT departments asking new vendors “do you have an App for that” and looking at some of their legacy applications and wondering if replatforming could allow their end users greater access and greater productivity with all the latest end point devices available on the market today, and the ones coming down the pipe later!! What’s certainly not helping the situation is a lot of these devices ship with a tiny amount of storage capacity and relying heavily, if not exclusively on the internet/IP Networks for content and applications. This lack of local storage is also leading the charge for cloud services.
So where does that leave IT today? It means that our “To Do” list just got a lot longer which means more and more projects get relegated to the “Non-Recoverable Engineering Time” list. If we think about the “Journey to the Private Cloud” we start to realize that the key to keeping up with today’s technology as well as what might be around the corner is to “automate and orchestrate” as much of IT as we can – FUTURE BLOG ALERT :).
So, next time you get the urge to blame Storage/Infrastructure companies for pushing Cloud…think again !!! I blame it on the iPad !!